Should You Play High Variance Slots?

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High Variance Slots

When you’re looking for a new game to play, most casinos make it easier by sorting their catalog into categories. Once you’re in the slots lobby, there’s a huge variety of titles to pick, so having a choice of themes, features, and types of games means you can get what you want faster.

The gambling world has a language of its own, and that’s true for slots, too. You’ll see terms like 96% RTP, volatility, or high variance used to describe a particular game. Knowing what those mean can help you determine whether or not that title suits your style. There’s plenty to consider, such as bonus rounds, the theme, and how much you stand to win. Do you like to anticipate hitting the jackpot or feel the thrills from frequent small wins?

In this post, you’ll learn about high variance slots, including their features and what benefits they have. You’ll also find out about the alternatives and any downsides. Plus, there’s a list of the best games to try and some tips to make the most of them if this type of slot is for you.

Read on to find out how to mix up your casino experience with high variance slots.

What Is a High Variance Slot?

High Variance SlotThe variance of a slot tells you two key pieces of information. One is the size of your wins, and the other is how often you’re likely to land winning combinations. When the game you play is high variance, it means you could expect larger wins, but at a low frequency.

Some people in the industry use the terms ‘variance’ and ‘volatility’ interchangeably. That isn’t incorrect, as both terms refer to what you can expect from the gameplay. Generally, high variance means high volatility. However, volatility is used more often to describe the frequency of the wins and how big they will be.

The term variance often implies additional information. It’s describing how much a slot deviates from the expected rate. In this case, that’s the return to player or RTP. This average rate is calculated over many spins, so it isn’t an accurate reading for 20 minutes of play. A high variance slot tells you that for long periods, the actual RTP will be lower, and infrequently it will be higher.

The Alternatives

One way to better understand high variance slots, and to decide whether you should play them, is to look at the alternatives. You have two other options; low and medium variance. Low slots are the opposite in terms of gameplay.

You can expect a low variance slot to stick close to the RTP most of the time. There’ll be a few occasions where it’s slightly lower or higher, but it doesn’t happen a lot. The result is more frequent wins, but not so many big payouts.

As you might’ve guessed, medium variance slots occupy the middle ground. They deviate slightly from the RTP, but there aren’t any extremes where the actual RTP is significantly lower or higher for long periods. Your wins might not be as frequent as a low variance slot, and they won’t always be small.

Why Are They Popular?

High variance slots attract attention for their potential. They are high risk and high reward in nature. If you’ve ever seen slot videos online where the player wins a significant amount, it’s usually a high variance slot.

These games attract players that want a chance of pocketing a big prize. Many high variance slots give you the chance to win 1,000, 2,000, or even 5,000x your bet. Although, winning thousands of dollars only happens once every 50,000 or 100,000 spins. Since someone has to be the lucky one, the idea of collecting that large sum draws many people to high variance titles.

One of the downsides of this type of slot is that you can use up most of your bankroll before you see any returns. You often end up getting through your budget quite quickly to try to reach those top prizes, and it doesn’t always pay off. If you enjoy special features and triggering bonus rounds often, these games aren’t for you.

Tips For Playing

If you want to try high variance slots, here are some tips to enhance your experience and manage your expectations:

Tips for playing slots

Set A Budget

As mentioned, playing a high variance slot can mean getting through your bankroll quite quickly. Before you start playing, it’s crucial that you decide on an overall budget and then determine your bet amount.

Check the rules of the game to see the max bet that’s needed to win the jackpot. Otherwise, keep your bets low to get more spins and make your bankroll last longer. If you’re the kind of person who only plays for 5 minutes at a time, you could set your bets slightly higher. However, you might be better off with lower variance.

Tips for playing slots

Be Patient

The price you pay for that potential big payout is that you usually have to wait for it. When playing a high variance game, you’ll have lots of spins where you don’t land any winning combinations.

As you play, you’ll get close but won’t always find the special symbols that you need to launch the bonus round. If you’re relaxed and excited to see whether you make it to the next round, you can still have fun. If you’re getting frustrated and focusing on your shrinking bankroll, it might be time to find another game or stop.

Tips for playing slots

Choose the Right Moment to Stop

While being patient and waiting for a win on the next spin is an excellent attitude, you also need to know when to stop. If your patience or your budget is running out, then it’s a sign that you should leave the game. The other time you should consider quitting is when you’ve got that large prize you were waiting for.

Where To Start

Dead or Alive II slotNow you know what a high variance slot is, what makes it fun, and how to approach these games. The next step is to find some titles to enjoy. You can try looking for high variance or volatility slots at your favourite casino, or look for the titles from this list:

🔶 Dead or Alive II

This NetEnt slot has an RTP of 96.8%. It’s one of the most well-known games, especially when it comes to high volatility. If you’re looking for wild west thrills, it’s the game for you.

🔶 Book of Dead

It’s often the game you first play at a casino to use your free spins. Play’n GO is known for high variance slots, and this Egyptian-themed slot is a popular one.

🔶 Bonanza

This Megaways slot from Bit Time Gaming is a top choice for big wins with the maximum prize set at 12,000x your stake; just be prepared to wait for it.

🔶 Jammin’ Jars

Push Gaming brings you this fun and fruity slot, with an RTP of 96.8%. The max win is an incredible 20,000x your stake.

🔶 Reactoonz

This title from Play’n Go has cascading reels, bright colours, quirky extraterrestrials, and an RTP of 96.51%.

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Conrad Brennan
Former Author
University of Toronto
BA of Business and Marketing
Expert in:
  • Games reviews
  • Slot reviews
Reviewed by Head of Content:
Dmitry Rogalchuk
Last updated on: 06.03.2024

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